ILLINOIS (KFVS) - The relationship between the United States and Japan got support from Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Monday, Sept. 11. Rauner stressed the need to further strengthen the relationship at the launch of the 49th Midwest U.S.-Japan Association Conference.
The conference unites business, education and government leaders in an effort to further trade and investment opportunities between the Midwest states and Japan.
In Nagoya the governor met with senior executives from Aisin Seiki, Toyota Boshoku and Sakae Riken Kogyo. Aisin's main Illinois operations are in Marion and employ more than 2,000 people. The company develops and produces auto parts, including brake pads, engine parts and transmissions.
"Japanese companies have been instrumental in creating jobs and driving economic development through the entire state of Illinois," the governor said. "From Chicago to Shelbyville and Lawrenceville, from Marion to Mattoon, Japanese companies have made a tremendous impact on the economic growth of these towns. I am deeply grateful for the jobs and opportunities provided to the people of Illinois."
The governor and members of Illinois' delegation spent part of the afternoon meeting with the clothing, manufacturer and retail company, Uniqlo. Uniqlo's Chicago store is one of 630 Japanese businesses throughout Illinois.
"It is not that often that we gather together, but when we do, like for this conference, we unite with an unprecedented strength on economic growth," Gov. Rauner said while addressing governors in attendance. "We need to send the message that our growth is interdependent."
The governor said Illinois is continually working in close contact with Japan regarding foreign investment opportunities. The Illinois foreign trade office in Japan is one of the oldest state trade and investment offices in Japan, dating back 32 years.